After heat, a cool- down
Lower temperatures should assist the crews battling the Lake fire south of Big Bear.
The high- pressure system of warm, dry air that pushed temperatures into the triple digits in Southern California will begin to drift away Monday, offering relief to f irefighters battling the state’s largest forest fire this year.
The strong high- pressure system kept temperatures in the 100- degree range in the Antelope Valley and in the high 90s in parts of the San Fernando Valley on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures in the Los Angeles area hovered in the mid- to high 80s.
On Monday, a period of gradual cooling will begin. The L. A. area will see temperatures in the high 70s, and desert temperatures will fall into the 90s by midweek, said weather specialist Stuart Seto.
The cooler temperatures should help the nearly 2,000 f irefighters battling the Lake fire in the San Bernardino Mountains south of Big Bear Lake.
The blaze, which began Wednesday, has scorched more than 17,050 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains. Several hundred people evacuated campsites and vacation homes.
The fire tore through dry, rugged terrain that has not seen a fire this large in more than a century, officials said. The forest is particularly vulnerable to fire because of a bark beetle infestation that has killed many trees.
“It’s steep and there’s a lot of dead trees that are down,” f ire spokeswoman Shawna Hartman said. “The logs will burn, roll down the hill, then catch something at the bottom of the hill, sending the fire back up.”
The fire, which was pushing in a southeasterly direction toward the Morongo Valley, was 19% contained Sunday, according to the United States Forest Service.
About 500 homes and other structures were threatened by the blaze, but no structural damage has been reported, Hartman said.
A plume of smoke extended hundreds of miles east over the Mojave Desert. Air quality warnings have been issued in the area.
A FIREFIGHTING HELICOPTER sucks up water from Jenks Lake as it helps battle the Lake f ire, which has scorched more than 17,000 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains. Several hundred people evacuated.